Activating Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge with N6MMA!

Heading out this weekend to activate Balcones Canyonlands NWR for the WWFF/POTA programs with Mr. Randy Van Vliet, N6MMA – a long time friend whom I’ve been chatting with...

Heading out this weekend to activate Balcones Canyonlands NWR for the WWFF/POTA programs with Mr. Randy Van Vliet, N6MMA – a long time friend whom I’ve been chatting with online for some time. Randy was the one who introduced me to the ‘Vertzilla’ antenna originally & convinced me that this antenna would run circles around my link dipole. I’m still a bit skeptical that it’s a ‘better’ antenna – it’s certainly directional and has a low angle of radiation. Sometimes I prefer the link dipole due to my location here in the United States. Since I’m located pretty much centrally, I find that my link dipole in an inverted V configuration can cover the entire country pretty well. This weekend we’ll be using Vertzilla though – and to add to the mix – we’ll both be using KX3’s. Randy usually operates CW & Voice.

I’ve been very hesitant lately to go QRP – because many of the recent outings I’ve had in the past few months have netted next to zero contacts when I chose to drop down the power. Randy wants me to try the KX3 with Vertzilla this weekend to see what kind of a day we’ll have on the radio with QRP power levels & this antenna. Next to deploying a 2 element beam or Moxon, I think it’s about as directional as you can get without getting too crazy of a setup when portable.

I’m going to focus primarily on FT8 since I finally got my digital woes worked out on my radios. I’ve had a few failed digital activations – so I owe you guys! If things slow down during the 3 hours or so that i’ll be there, I will hop to voice, but my primary focus will be FT8. I’ll also call out on 2 meter FM from the truck mobile to work folks here locally.

There’s a beautiful spot to operate from at this National Wildlife Refuge called Sunset Deck with a covered patio and parking for about 10 cars:

sunsetdeck

This park usually isn’t too busy because its a Wildlife Refuge – but there are fewer places to park & setup in these types of parks, luckily I was able to scope out the area a few weeks ago and found this nice overlook. As always, if you spot us on the air, spotting is always appreciated!

Planned ETA: 1600 UTC – 1900 UTC (?) – February 3, 2018

Bands planned: 2m, 20m, 30m, 40m

Park number: KFF-0543 (WWFF) & K-0543 (POTA)

 

73 de K5ACL & N6MMA

Categories
Parks on the AirPortable OpsWorldwide Flora & Fauna Program
2 Comments on this post.

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  • Scott Dupuie
    2 February 2018 at 8:25 PM

    The “Vertzilla” antenna should only be directional if you are using a single elevated counterpoise. If you are using two or more elevated counterpoises fanned out equidistant around the antenna or a ground counterpoise you should not notice much directivity.

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    • K5ACL
      2 February 2018 at 8:26 PM

      Yup, one radial only. Going to point it towards Europe in the morning as 20m is grey line there.

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